Elder Abuse and the 4th of July

Elder Abuse and The 4th of July

Elder abuse in Watsonville is not visible. No, it isn’t person to person, but it’s the high decibel Noise Pollution that is killing us seniors. We share space in the Pajaro Valley with regular folks and the sound of fireworks here travels unimpeded for miles and miles with intense high decibels like cannon fire explosions. Both travel and blanket the entire valley with battle sounds. There is nowhere to go to avoid it. This is a form of torture, hearing loss affects the brain, Alzheimer’s is spreading fast in the elderly community.

Any explosions after the 4th are Elder Abuse.

The population who lives around the seniors is not well educated in this country’s history. We are not celebrating a war, nor a battle. We are celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the British. When the 4th of July holiday is near, they buy up a great deal more fireworks that they can use in one night. Two weeks before the 4th, these invisible thoughtless criminals already start random explosions.

The seniors are ready for the 4th. We buy our expensive drugs for both our animals and ourselves. But what we also know is that it will be useless. Our neighbors see this holiday as permission to make as many explosions as possible. Creating a war in sound. And they don’t stop until they have used up a year’s worth of firecrackers. So the explosions go on all year round.

The One night of the Fourth is accepted by us seniors. We remember our childhood when we too enjoyed the firecrackers. But these folks think that getting drunk late at night and shooting off more firecrackers in the air with half a stick of dynamite tied on ,make huge explosive sounds. Abusive. They were allowed to buy explosives; they immediately abuse this right by firing them up at unwelcome and unexpected times. The last big explosion happened here September 25th late around 2:30 am. I am a heart attack survivor, getting frightened deeply can kill me.

The unexpected explosion is what we cannot tolerate. We cannot prepare for it. It blasted me out of my bed and I had a near second heart attack, my dog was trembling, we could not relax, our night was ruined. For seniors this means the next day we are tired and cannot function.

I bought my house with the expectation of some quiet times in a senior housing section for my golden years.. What can go wrong? Our town has not enough police to find the criminals who keep blowing up the firecrackers late at night. How could they? These things happen late starting around 10:30 pm till about 5:00 am. They are unexpected. It’s men who play with them and pay no attention to the fact that we don’t celebrate the 4th of July all year round.

Any explosions after the 4th are Elder Abuse.

The seniors have no voice here in the land of the strawberries. Seniors are laughed at for getting frightened. An outreach is needed to the minds of the neighbors, hoping that they hear the problem and stop abusing their right to the firecrackers, and abusing the
-Grandmothers
-Grandfathers
-Veterans
-Children
-and Animals
Abuse is a serious crime in California. Elder Abuse is especially heinous.

Here is a look at the power of sounds. I am looking at a chart of sound decibels. The lowest ratings go to the normal breathing sound measured at ten decibels. The next one is whispers, measured at 20 decibels. Moderate rainfall is 50 decibels. Normal conversation comes in at 60 decibels. Busy traffic comes in at 70 points, but from here on up, prolonged exposure is causing hearing damage.

Now come the vacuum cleaner sounds at 80 decibels, prolonged exposure causes hearing loss. Shouted conversation is at 80 decibels, and also causes hearing loss. Passing motorcycle 100, chainsaw 116 decibels, and jackhammers at the source are 130 decibels. And this is our human threshold of pain. Anything higher than this will cause painful hearing loss. The highest one is a firework at 150 decibels and it is termed “Intolerable”.

This intolerable sound is played brutally on the 4th, but afterwards daily, at unexpected times. Unexpected makes it double dangerous. It can happen in the middle of the night, why? Because some guy is celebrating his birthday? Drunk guy showing off to an other?

They use it because they already have them, it is there handy. Boom!

Seniors pay the price for this extravagant permission to use fireworks in Watsonville. Veterans pay a price also, they get PTSD flash backs, seizures, and all kinds of psychological complications. Children often loose fingers and eyes being around fireworks. All animals, except hunting dogs, fear for their lives. They run away. Sometimes run into traffic.

This Abuse must stop!

I talked to Fire Chief Paul Barrets, he tells me they are watching out for fires, and have a few men to deal with it. The Police however are understaffed. How can you find the culprits in the middle of the night, after firing off a barrage of fireworks? They finish and disappear into their homes. There are laws against all this behavior, but nobody is enforcing it. Be the good neighbors who report the abusers . When the Police make an arrest it costs the criminals over a thousand dollars fine.

But public opinion against the abusers would work better.

Why is it legal in Watsonville to use private firecrackers? Oh, it is for Charity they say. What a fine goal! How can I criticize that? First of all seniors and the veterans, grandmothers, and grandfathers do not want to suffer hearing loss/peace of mind loss,panic attacks just so some Charities can make windfall of money.All other communities who don’t sell fireworks also raise money for charities. Why not do fundraisers?We the seniors are not obliged to pay with our health and peace of mind for moneymaking schemes. Second, this Charity thing really stinks. Who are these charities, and do they ever get audited? No. All this is very hush-hush, deeply secretive and it feels totally corrupt.

Solutions?? The public conscience must get educated about the 4th of July. Public announcements, radio ads, Spanish speaking newspapers must discuss this all year so when we get to the 4th, the people would use the soundless firecrackers which are available online, and use them on the 4th. But after that no more explosions please! None!

You too will be old one day if you are lucky. Whatever you are doing to us now, will happen to you too when you are old. Learn to respect your Elder’s quiet air space. Don’t push us around, don’t bully us to put up with your frivolous use of fireworks.

Stop the Elder Abuse.